One humid Saturday in the not too distant past, I ventured east to explore Broadway Market, a charming street of stalls sandwiched between London Fields and Regent's Canal.
My first port of call was a fishmonger's, where I perused the stacks of freshly caught fish for that week's meals. The fishmonger wrapped up wonderfully salty sea samphire, a glistening skate and some bronzed smoked mackerel in paper packages for us to take home.
I wish all fishmongers looked like this. With industrial pendant lamps reminiscent of fishermans' traps and white subway tiles, I was taking notes on interior design in this place!
Jess joined me for brunch so we could catch up before she embarks on her trip around the world (honestly so jealous...!) Typically rubbish at making decisions, we deliberated over everything from mushroom risotto to scotch eggs with beautifully soft yolks.
Finally I decided on one of the signature offerings from Bánh Mí 11. If you've not tried it yet, banh mí is a delicious Franco-Vietnamese staple in which beautifully marinaded barbecued pork is stuffed into a fantastically chewy baguette, alongside other flavours like coriander, lemongrass and chilli. I could scarf down another one right now.
Jess chose a spicy salad with yoghurt. I think. Feel free to correct me, J...That's what I get for stuffing my face with Vietnamese food and not paying attention to what you were eating!
We picked up juices from Chegworth Valley and traipsed around the rest of the market.
I discovered Artwords, a wonderful arts bookshop. It's filled to the rafters with quirky arts publications including graphic novels, heavy luxury exhibition catalogues, and even a couple of guides on how to start your own blog, which Jess picked up! Lots of books on the birthday and Christmas wishlist now...
There's a taste of the past at Broadway too, with J. Cooke, one of the last remaining jellied eel shops in London. Eels were once a traditional dish in the East End but have died out in popularity somewhat.
I'm a fan of eel when it's thinly sliced and placed on top of sushi, but jellied and cut thickly? I might have to try it again before passing judgement...
Next we spent some time lusting after dinky little macarons and wisps of lingerie.
We popped into William Cheshire, a jewellery shop on Broadway Market, and had the chance to chat to William himself about how he came to design jewellery. It transpired that he used to work in furniture and stage design and then moved over to jewellery design from there - isn't that a fascinating career trajectory? He now exclusively works with jewellery and commissions, but I did notice a nod to his career in theatre in his shop with a pair of antique theatre seats, complete with seat numbers and plush velvet, tucked away in the corner. A very cool touch. I only wish I'd remembered to take some pictures in his shop!
We marvelled at the street art on one of the roads off the market.
And generally took in the weird and the wonderful in the area. Pretty little tarts dusted with icing sugar that I longed to recreate. Vintage clothes for sale in a launderette. An ethnographic museum tucked away next to a newsagent. Trainers dangling in the breeze from an electricity cable. Industrial reflections in the canal. Most mysteriously, a dead bird lying peacefully on an abandoned blanket on the pavement.
It's sights like this that make London such a wonderful city to live in. Every day is filled with such interesting sights and new discoveries. And off I go again on one of my odes to my hometown...
If you're wondering what to do with your Saturday morning, look no further. Broadway Market is an absolute gem, and only a fifteen minute walk from Haggerston Overground along the canal. I'll be spending more of my Saturdays in this area for sure, lusting after the houses overlooking the canal and the park! And picking up a banh mí...or two.